Protecting Zoe Was Really About Sam Not Knowing Her Own Daughter
Sam is a skilled professional but her dedication to protecting Zoe went above and beyond her $10,000 fee. The reason why is the key to understanding her character and her actions in Close.
When Zoe and Sam arrived at the kasbah, Sam's time as Zoe's bodyguard was nearly up; she was meant to leave in the morning until the first group of assassins attacked. The first hint of why comes when Sam contacts her boss at Black Sky Security Management, Conall; when arriving with fake passports for their cover to get to Spain (but before he's murdered by assassins), Conall infuriates Sam by telling her that he knows about her kid, and that he thinks staying and continuing to protect Zoe isn't going to fix anything.
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Along with the immense dangers of her job, the guilt of constantly shutting her daughter out was affecting Sam physically and emotionally. She had developed a smoking habit to deal with the stress, and at one point Zoe witnessed the normally stoic Sam suffer an emotional breakdown. As she finally revealed to Zoe, Sam got pregnant at 16 and gave her baby up for adoption because she wasn't ready to be a mother. Sam's daughter has regularly tried to contact her but Sam continually ignores her calls, perhaps feeling that her lonely and dangerous life as a bodyguard leaves no room for a family.
This is what Sam unlearns by Close's ending. She and Zoe are at odds for most of the movie, with Sam coldly rebuffing a grateful Zoe's attempts to get to know her better ("I'm not your friend," Sam tells her). However, it gradually becomes clear that protecting Zoe, who at about 19 or 20 is roughly the age Sam's daughter, was really about trying to be there for her in the way she never was for her own daughter. In the end, Sam promised Zoe that she would make contact with her real daughter.
Close Is Really About Mothers And Daughters And Women Fighting Back
Since neither Zoe and Rima nor Sam and her daughter were close, Close is actually about estranged mothers and daughters choosing to make a connection with each other. In the end, despite enormous corporate pressures, Rima decides Zoe's life is more important and decides to walk away from the deal. In turn, Zoe realizes that Rima does, in fact, care about her and she risks her life to save Rima from The Suit. Sam, despite trying to maintain an emotional distance, also comes to care for Zoe, who grows up a lot thanks to the harrowing ordeal she endures.
The vital lesson Sam imparts to Zoe is to fight back; when assassins attack them in the Casablanca hotel, Sam instructs Zoe to fight off her assailant and do everything she can to not be kidnapped. Zoe grew braver throughout Close and thought nothing of risking her own safety to kill The Suit and save Rima. In the end, Close was about Sam and Zoe enduring an unimaginably violent ordeal but growing stronger - and forming closer bonds - because of it.
Close is available to stream on Netflix.